Meet our team

Leaders who
love to serve.

Our dedicated team are passionate about Christian education.

Mr Simon Lainson

B Ed, Grad Dip (B&M)

Simon joined the staff team at Illawarra Christian School in 1999 and was appointed as Principal in 2008. He has a Bachelor of Secondary Education (Humanities and Social Sciences) from the University of Sydney and a Graduate Diploma in Bible and Ministry from Sydney Missionary and Bible College.

Simon is married to Sarah, and they have six children. He values the partnership his family enjoys with Illawarra Christian School through his children’s education. Simon is an elder at Wollongong Baptist Church. As a member of the CEN NSW/ACT State Council, Simon plays an active role in the wider Christian education community.

Passionate about equipping staff and students with a faithful, Christ-centred worldview that informs all of life, Simon is excited to be leading a community of Christian educators, parents and students who learn and grow together under God’s grace.

Deputy Principal (Prep – Year 12)

Mrs Melinda Sharpe

B Ed

Melinda joins the executive team at Illawarra Christian School in 2023 as P-12 Deputy Principal. She brings with her over 30 years of experience as a Personal Development, Health, and Physical Education specialist in education and has held a number of senior executive roles in independent and Christian schools including Director of Sport and Outdoor Education, Cross Curriculum Coordinator, Dean of Students, Head of Senior School and Deputy Principal.

During this time Melinda has witnessed the incredible impact a Christ-centred school can make on the lives of students and their families.  She is dedicated and passionate about growing students to be lifelong learners, transforming their young lives, and fostering a culture of servant-hearted carers. 

Believing strongly in the importance of building genuine and meaningful connections with students, families, staff, and the wider community, Melinda appreciates the importance of the individual in the Prep to Year 12 journey.

Melinda is married to David and together they attend St Mark's Anglican Church, West Wollongong, and serve at Family and Friends. She also values her weekly small group gathering with Christian friends.

Melinda sees this position as a tremendous privilege and is very much looking forward to partnering with our families to assist in nurturing their children through this exciting time of personal change.

Director of Teaching and Learning

Mr Andrew Brown

BE (Hons), Dip B&M, Grad Dip Ed, MEd(Lead)

Andrew initially studied Ceramic Engineering at UNSW but was convicted of the need to make a difference in the lives of young people as a Christian teacher. He has completed a Diploma of Bible and Mission from Moore Theological College, Graduate Diploma of Education from the Wesley Institute and Masters in Educational Leadership from UOW.

Having previously taught in schools in the independent sector, Andrew has grown to love holistic education - the development of the entire student. He is passionate about developing students of faith and character and building strong learning communities in collaboration with the staff.

Andrew is married to Karina, who also works at the school, and they have three children. Together they attend SALT Church, Wollongong, where Andrew enjoys being involved in the music ministry and partnering with other parents as they work together to grow their families in faith.

Andrew enjoys working with the teachers, students and parents of the school community and fostering strong partnerships in the development of our students.

Director of Student Learning Opportunities

Mrs Simone Brown

BA, Grad Dip Ed, Grad Dip Psych, COGE

Simone began teaching at Illawarra Christian School in 2001 after several years of experience in Queensland schools. She has taught every grade in both a classroom teacher capacity and as a Japanese teacher. Simone heads up our Enrichment team and thrives on coaching students through varying academic opportunities throughout the year. Initially, Simone was appointed to a primary leadership position, before commencing her role as Director of Student Learning Opportunities, P-12, in 2017.

Simone is married to Trevor and has four children, two of whom attend Illawarra Christian School and two who have graduated. She is a member of St Mark’s Anglican Church, West Wollongong, and enjoys her involvement in the music team. 

In order to determine and facilitate effective learning paths for individuals, Simone monitors student progress across the school. She is dedicated to identifying the individual passions, gifts and needs of students and to providing opportunities that enrich student learning outcomes. Simone heads up the LogICS (Learning Opportunities for Growth at ICS) team with the conviction that every student can do remarkable things with the appropriate guidance and support. She is energised by innovations in education and is excited about tailoring learning to meet student needs both now and into the future.

Director of Wellbeing

Miss Heather Mansley

B Ed

Heather has been involved in Christian education for more than 20 years and prior to joining the ICS executive in 2023 was the Head of Middle School at Wagga Wagga Christian College. She completed her Bachelor of Education through Charles Sturt University and the National Institute for Christian Education. 

Heather is excited to have joined the ICS community as Director of Wellbeing and believes strongly in the importance of working in partnership with staff and families to support students’ cognitive, social, emotional, physical and spiritual development. She believes that working in a P-12 setting is an amazing privilege. Being able take the journey through the various stages of learning and development with a young person and their family is something that Heather feels blessed and honoured to be able to do.

Director of K-6

Mr Caleb Jones

B Ed

Caleb has been teaching at Illawarra Christian School since 2018. Prior to his appointment as Director of K-6, he served as a classroom teacher and the K-6 Curriculum Coordinator. Caleb graduated from the University of Notre Dame (Sydney) with a Bachelor of Education (Primary). He has recently commenced his Master of Educational Leadership through the National Institute for Christian Education.

With his wife, Emma, and their two children, Caleb is a member of SALT Church, Wollongong, where he serves on the SALT Kids team. He also values his weekly Small Group.

Having previously taught in schools in the independent sector, Caleb has a passion to see students develop a love of learning about God and his creation. He is eager to build strong foundations of literacy and numeracy for children, through collaborative learning communities involving parents, teachers and students. Caleb is motivated by the continuous development of systems and processes in teaching and learning to improve student learning outcomes and student well-being.

Caleb enjoys nurturing a sense of wonder and curiosity in children and teachers, inspiring them to be courageous shapers of culture in our learning community and beyond.

Business Manager

Mr Rob Thomas

Rob joined the team at Illawarra Christian School in July 2019. He previously enjoyed a career in capital markets, private health insurance, executive roles in software design and development, and business and systems development in early childhood education. Rob was keen to use his skills and experience in a non-profit Christian setting. The Business Manager role with Illawarra Christian Education came as a great blessing and reminder to Rob that God is always at work in his life.

Together with his wife Margaret, Rob is an active member of St Michael’s Anglican Church in Wollongong. Rob, Margaret and their two adult children are all involved in various ministries within their respective churches. Rob and his wife co-lead a young adults’ mid-week Bible study. Rob also serves as a warden for St Michael's and was the former treasurer on the Wollongong Combined Churches Education Board which funds and supports high school scripture in five central Wollongong state high schools.

Rob is passionate about good business process and practice, and partnering with people to achieve outcomes that benefit the school, our students and the wider school community.

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